Do you want to grow a life you love?
We all have the ability to grow a nourishing life. To grow more beauty and joy. To become more alive everyday.
We can shift from mindlessness to mindfulness, from going through the motions to being inspired. We all have the ability to grow a life we love.
And we all get stuck sometimes, too.
For the times you’re stuck to the times you’re flowing and need an extra bit of wind at your back, here are 7 simple ways to grow a life you love. Like everything in life, they’re all connected, so use them together, root down, stretch up, and grow~
1. Write it down
Whatever you want in life, writing it down increases the chances you’ll make it happen. A study done by Dr. Gail Matthews at Dominican University shows that those who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve them then those who don’t.
To grow a life you love, grab a pen and paper and start writing. I do this 2-3 times a year, both for short-term and long-term goals. It helps me stay on track, and reviewing my previous list reminds me what I’ve achieved.
To make this practice more effective, share your goals with a supportive friend, and then regularly check in with that person on your progress. The support and connection will keep you on track and motivated to keep going when you hit a bump in the road.
2. Get your hands dirty
There’s a reason gardening relaxes you—and it’s more than the fresh air, the space to unwind, and the miraculous ability to transform a seed into a beefsteak tomato. Mycobacterium vaccae, a bacteria found in soil, stimulates serotonin production in your brain. Serotonin makes you happy and relaxed.
So take off your gardening gloves and feel the soil.
Dig, seed, tuck transplants into the earth. Let the soil work its way into your fingerprints and under your nails. It’s so much easier to grow (your life and your garden) when rooted in joy.
3. Eat Well
When you eat well, you are well.
All plants grow better when they get the nutrients they need. Take care of yourself as if you were a seedling: create a positive environment and feed yourself good food.
Eating well is different for everyone, but whether you’re an omnivore or vegetarian, paleo or carb-loving, all good food is organic. Local is even better.
Because food connects us to the world, eating local food roots us to our home and creates a sense of belonging; when we belong we take care. We participate in creating and sustaining health for ourselves, our communities, and our home. (Growing a garden gets your hands dirty, connects you to the land, and lets you eat well).
Eat in a way that supports your well-being and the Earth’s well-being.
4. Clear out
Before you grow a garden, you clean the beds. You pull weeds by the roots. You clear the space so something new can grow.
If you want to grow a life you love, you have to clear out the metaphorical weeds.
Start by saying no to anything that doesn’t spark joy. Continue by clearing out clutter.
Our internal and external environments are linked. When the external is spacious and clear, it’s so much easier to be clear inside yourself, which in turn makes it easier to dream, plan, and grow a life you love.
For me, this means emptying my closets, cleaning the house, and giving away the things I haven’t used in a year. It also means stepping down from boards or volunteer roles that create stress. This is more painful than bringing a bag of clothes to the thrift store. When others depend on you, it’s hard to step away.
It’s hard, too, to pull the tomato plants when they’re still producing in October. But if you don’t, you’ll lose the window for planting winter greens. So ask yourself: do you want to hold on to a few more summer slicers, or eat fresh food all winter?
Decide what you’ll say yes to, and say no to everything else. For more on this, read the book Essentialism, by Greg McKeown.
5. Hang out with trees
Call it forest bathing, call it going on a walk. Whichever you prefer, commit to spending time around trees at least once a week.
Just as soil relaxes you, time spent in the forest decreases stress (and your blood-pressure).
More than that, it reconnects you to the natural world, where life thrives on connection—not smart phones or social media, but real connection—the interplay between leaves and sunlight, trunks and roots, soil and water and microbes reaching out in continuous conversation.
Find your voice in the conversation.
6. Practice Gratitude
If you want abundance in your life, start by saying thank you. These two simple words can shift your mindset from negativity to positivity.
There are many ways to practice gratitude: write a list of everything you’re grateful for; call a friend and thank them for their friendship; notice one thing each day that brings joy into your life and pause for a moment to soak it in.
The more you practice gratitude for all you have, the easier it is to see abundance and welcome more of it into your life. When something goes wrong, a baseline of gratitude will help you be more resilient, solve problems, and move forward.
Breathe deep. Fill your lungs. Fill your whole body, from toes to fingers to the crown of your head. Let your breath make space inside yourself.
Mindful breathing decreases stress, improves your mood, and clears your mind.
When your life isn’t growing the way you want, mindful breathing will bring you back to center and help you figure out what seed to plant (literal or metaphorical), what to tend to, and how to root into intention as you grow toward the sunlight.
Did this help you? Share it with a friend, and sow the seeds of intention, beauty and joy together.
Are there tools or strategies you love that aren’t on the list? Leave them in a comment below.